This Quarter’s Dinner Meeting Recaps

March Program: Acing Your Interview

In our March program, attendees gained expert interview tips from Andrew Davis, a well-favored recruiter of technical content developers.

Here are some tips we found especially helpful:

  • Videotape a mock interview. Use the video to see if you are making good eye contact and are leaning forward. Don’t fold your arms, sit back, or slouch. When interviewers ask you to tell them about yourself, they are really asking you to tell them what you can do for them.
  • Ask questions during an interview. Andrew gave a list of questions to ask interviewers. His top question is, “What is your leadership style?” Other good questions to ask are: What types of people are successful here? What types are not successful? How would you describe your culture? What is the rhythm to the work? The last question he suggests asking is, “What would stop you from hiring me for this position?”
  • Send thank you notes. Andrew suggests sending thank you notes to each interviewer individually (if possible), and to the internal recruiter.

Andrew also noted that compensation includes opportunities and circumstances in addition to a salary. We are sharing Andrew’s presentation especially for our DMV readers. Don’t miss his tips on building an interpersonal connection with your interviewers (such as opening your palm while speaking) as well as some definite taboos (such as leaning backwards).

Additionally, Andrew also gave us a link to his Jobs to Explore list of direct (non-agency) content-related job and contract opportunities. This frequently updated resource is a prize for job seekers.

April Program: How to be Acquired? Surviving the Transition

In our April program, Meg Miranda described her many merger and acquisition experiences. She cleverly used photos and metaphors arising from her hobby as a home beekeeper. Meg shared her best tips about what to do (and not do) to ease the pains of transition – whether you’re on the being acquired or acquiring side — and how to graciously approach new relationships and workflows.

May Program: Responsive EPUB, Really?

In our May program, Scott Prentice started with an educational overview of EPUB and then discussed the tools and methods he has used to publish a document to an e-reader (such as Kindle) and have it display properly on a wide variety of devices – be it a smartphone, an iPadĀ® or a web page.

With his presentation, Scott opened our eyes to limitations of the specification and publishing tools. For example, simple content may “just work,” but it starts to get tricky with more complex content, such as tables and images. For responsive EPUB documents, use cascading style sheets that detect device parameters and reformat the document accordingly.

Scott suggested that the best approach to creating complex EPUBs is using a tool as well as hand-coding. In fact, responsive features must be hand-coded. However, most tools will break the responsiveness, so a checking tool is also necessary (EpubCheck). Potentially, EPUB “help” could be a replacement for HTML help by delivering content that is locally installed and always available.